Since its introduction decades ago, fentanyl has gone from a medication almost no one has heard of to a scourge of health authorities and law enforcement officials alike. Public health researchers have found fentanyl contamination in most other street drugs, and it has caused a staggering number of overdoses in recent years.
Lawmakers, keen to curtail the epidemic of addiction, have recently instituted much harsher penalties related to fentanyl possession and distribution. Individuals arrested for fentanyl-related offenses will now face the risk of much more substantial penalties as a result.
This is the second year with new penalties imposed
In 2022, Florida lawmakers increased the penalties associated with fentanyl trafficking by imposing harsher mandatory minimum sentences. Most recently, state lawmakers have passed another bill changing the way the state handles specific fentanyl offenses.
Given that some parties have attempted to target children and have manufactured capsules that look like candy, the state has increased the possible penalties for such offenses. Anyone caught even in possession of fentanyl or other controlled substances that look like candy will face a first-degree felony charge.
The possible penalties could include a $1 million fine and mandatory life sentences for those accused of trafficking such substances. The state also earmarked $20 million in additional funds to help local law enforcement agencies investigate fentanyl use and distribution in their communities. The crackdown on so-called rainbow fentanyl could affect people of all ages in Florida.
Family members may have reason for concern
When someone struggles with addiction, they don’t always make decisions that are in their own best interests. Unfortunately, those in the throes of fentanyl addiction may not worry about the consequences of a possible arrest when withdrawal seems like a real concern that could occur at any moment.
They may require the support of loved ones to properly address their substance abuse disorder, especially after an arrest. Families may decide to retain a defense attorney on behalf of a loved one struggling with substance abuse.
The team at the Rudman Law Group prides itself on advocating for alternative options, like drug courts, and special sentencing considerations for those struggling with addiction. Those worried that a recent mistake could cost a family member their future could help improve the situation by bringing in professional support.
Talking about the possible penalties associated with a recent fentanyl arrest with a legal professional could help family members who want to support someone who is facing major drug charges.